Heritage

Several of my favorite bloggers have had blogs of their granddaughters taking up sewing in some form or another. These blogs brought to mind my own legacy.

My great grandmother raised my mother and aunt after the death of their mother. My first memory of Granny was going into her house to find all kinds of handwork displayed. She had a one room house with an enclosed porch. On Granny’s bed were dolls with beautiful crocheted dresses that would make them stand up. She also had pillows made from gingham that were smocked into beautiful flowers. Everywhere you looked there was something, either on the walls, the bed, the table, the chair, that had something made with Granny’s hands. Even the dresses she wore were made with her hands. My other grandmother, Nanny, also had a house full of items she made. She kept a little paper sack sitting on the table next to her chair that contained her crochet thread and needle. When she would sit down, she would pick up whatever she was working on and go to work. Her dresses were made on an old treadle sewing machine that I spent hours pumping as a child. That machine sits in my living room now and each time I look at it, I think of Nanny and the hours I watched her sew. My Mother was a seamstress at heart. She had 3 girls and sewed all of our clothes. She made our school clothes, prom dresses, wedding dresses and whatever was needed. This was all done at night after working a full time job. I can remember as a child, getting a doll for Christmas from Santa and seeing that Santa had made clothes for her out of fabric just like some of Mother’s dresses. I was so proud that Santa had done that. I found out years later that “Santa” had stitched all of those clothes on her lunch hour, by hand. As I grew up, I wanted so much to have “store bought” clothes. I just thought they were so much better. Never did I stop and think of the hours my Mother put in making all of those clothes for us after working all day. I didn’t appreciate her talent until I reached high school and wanted prom dresses and school dresses made just so. I could tell her what I wanted and it would be just like I saw in my mind. Never could I have gone to a store and gotten such perfection.

As I grew up and left home, I received a very much treasured Simplicity sewing machine from Granny. I didn’t have much money to spend on fabric so I would use whatever I could find. I’d scrimp and buy yarn to crochet something or yarn for knitting sweaters, fabric for making whatever I could put together. I made all of my clothes and couldn’t bring myself to spend the money for “store bought” knowing that I could make them so much cheaper. When I turned 25, I bought my first machine, a Singer, that I used for 20 years. Along the way, I learned to quilt. I loved working with the fabrics and sitting for hours quilting them by hand. Then I saw machine embroidery. I bought a Husqvarna 1+ and used it for several years before upgrading to a Designer 1. I still have that machine and have made many quilts and clothes for myself, and all members of the family, including the guys. I’m now using it only for clothing and sometimes will use a decorative stitch to bind some of the baby quilts I make. I bought a Brother PR600 embroidery machine several years ago that is used for all of my embroidery and a Juki to use on a frame that only lasted about a year before moving up to a Nolting Fun Quilter. The Juki is now used to piece all of the quilts I make while the FQ is used for all of the quilting. I no longer hand quilt since I can’t stand having the quilt on me anymore (get too hot). But that doesn’t mean that one day, I won’t go back to that. The love of quilting came from my Nanny and my great grandmothers on my Dad’s side. Although I never saw them quilt, I have slept under many of the utility quilts made before I came along. I also have quilts that have been saved from my great grandmother on my Dad’s side.

So, the point of this is that we all inherit something from our relatives. I was fortunate enough to inherit the love of working with my hands with fabric, yarn, or whatever. I bless my grandmothers and mother for giving me this cherished love. Hopefully, somewhere in the future, I will be able to pass along my love to others. Our daughter isn’t interested yet but there is still hope. I have passed my love on to one of my nieces and our daughter is expecting a baby girl this summer that will hopefully be inspired enough by all of her grandmothers to want to pick up a needle down the line.

My quilts will never be the works of art I see so many making but there is a lot of love that goes into each stitch. This love has saved my sanity for years and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of Granny and Nanny sitting in heaven stitching away. I’m fortunate that Mother is still with us and at 86 still does hand work.

Thank you Ronda, Carol, and Anita for making me stop and think of the great things I inherited from my grandmothers and mother that I too can hopefully pass on to someone else one day.

Happy Quilting!

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One Response to “Heritage”

  1. Carol Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your heritage. We are all blessed as women to have walked our paths with the guidance from those who went before us.

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